Martin Luther, the Bible, and the Jewish People:A Reader

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The place and significance of Martin Luther in the long history of Christian anti-Jewish polemic has been and continues to be a contested issue. The literature on the subject is substantial, and diverse. While efforts to exonerate Luther as merely a man of his times who merely perpetuated what he had received from his cultural and theological tradition have rightly been jettisoned, there still persists even among the educated public the perception that the truly problematic aspects of Luthers anti-Jewish attitudes are confined to the final stages of his career. It is true that Luthers anti-Jewish rhetoric intensified toward the end of his life, but reading Luther with a careful eye toward the Jewish question, it becomes clear that Luthers theological presuppositions toward Judaism and the Jewish people are a central, core component of his thought throughout his career, not just at the end. It follows then that it is impossible to understand the heart and building blocks of Luthers theology (justification, faith, liberation, salvation, grace) without acknowledging the crucial role of the Jews in his fundamental thinking.
Publication Date: 
August 1, 2012